A review of James Joyce’s short story The Dead 

The reason why a classic is called a classic is not only because it is the essence of human culture, but also because of it significance and value are everlasting. Classic is that every time we re-read it, we will have a different insight and inspiration. We looks like understand, but in fact, we need to read more about that classic and we will found that there are more things we need to dig. Thanks a lot to my lecturer Mr. Kho Tong Guan, because of his guidance had gave me a great interest in The Dead that written by James Joyce. The Dead was the first English classic that I had read it for several times. It is different from most of the collection of short stories of a variety of topics. This is because this short story through the content, style and techniques are all linked together to the theme of The Dead.      So, how to study James Joyce? Joyce is one of the great names of “culture”. His reputation is such that he acts as a sort of ritual object in culture, actually a lot of people are actually put off reading his work such as me when I am reading  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. This short story are more difficult to understand than The Dead. Reading Joyce is difficult as some people believe and it is a great deal more fun too (John Blades 2). The background to Joyce’s work makes a fascinating study if we can explore it in more detail. An understanding of contexts will certainly increase our enjoyment of reading Joyce’s novel and short story. We need to see the large issues of the text, the large subjects Joyce is dealing with, but we also need to examine the particular way he brings these issues to life (John Blades 7).      The background of The Dead is the time that Joyce stay in Rome and he feel purposeless, so he aware of the change in his attitude towards Ireland and so towards the world. He embodied his new perception in this short story. This short story which was a culmination of a long waiting history, began to take shape in Rome, but was not set down until he left the city (Richard Ellmann 243). The Dead is a short story that divided by two episodes of plot development..The story begins with the annual dance that organize by Misses Morkan. The front part of the short story is talking about everything in the annual dance. The beginning of this short story is very interesting. This classic’s is The Dead, then the beginning of this classic is a caretaker’s daughter Lily. Lily is not just a caretaker’s daughter name but also a kind of flower. This kind of flower always use in the funeral. Everything written by James Joyce has its meaning, nothing is without meaning. I was hooked on this work from here, and I really wanted to keep reading and see what is going happened next and what is the meaning behind each episode of each word.      In this short story have many of girl inside it, so I want to talk about the analysis of The Dead on Feminist Approaches. This is because female image research is one of the main contents of feminist literature research, which was prevalent in the 1970s. Critics of female image research judge authors and works based on the author’s approach to women’s writing and feminist ideology. In this way, feminists can determine how the women in the work show up to reveal how women are oppressed, misread and marginalized in a patriarchal society. In the opinion of female image critics, the female image in literature and learning is often inferior to male. Women are seen as “his” and are the men who meet their goals. They are selfless, docile, obedient, angelic women, or mad, irrational, demonic women. The two extreme female images of petrification often lack authenticity. The real female image should have consciousness of thinking, self-identity consciousness and life consciousness (Sun Jian Guang 80-83).       Let’s begin with Lily because the beginning of the short story she is the first person who appear. It turns out that Gabriel conversation with Lily was not very successful. He accidentally offends Lily by inquiring about her marriage prospect. The question he raised was very embarrassed and painful to Lily because Lily’s relationship with her ex-boyfriend ended badly. Gabriel should feel sorry to the poor girl’s unfortunate experience, but his first reaction was disturbed and discomposed about himself. It seemed to remind him of something and Gabriel subconsciously realized whether he did the same thing just like Lily’s man. Second, Miss Ivors, the woman was quite different from Lily, actually was not the woman Gabriel wished to be. She used to be a college alumnus of Gabriel, intellectual, confident and well-educated. She involved in society and politics much more than the other two female characters. She dared embarrass Gabriel who was respectable and elitist, whereas Miss Ivors could not share the equal honor just as Gabriel had. Gabriel could be the first one making speech at the dinner and he was self-proud about himself that he thought the other people may not catch up what he said. All he cared about was his reputation and popularity. Although Miss Ivors was no worse than Gabriel on intelligence, she concerned more about her own country rather than private profit. In contrast of them, Joyce’s intention was clear and women should not inferior to men (Song Yu 19). .

      As to Gretta, we’d better put her in the
matrimonial Perspective. As a wife, she was the most traditional woman adhering
to her husband standard. She was veiled, considerate, complied with his
willing. But it’s just the surface revealing to her husband, Gretta disdained
his authority and laughed at some of his behavior. For instance, using green
shades for Tom’s eyes at night, making him do the dumb-bells, forcing Eva to
eat the oatmeal, and the ugly galoshes. She never adhered to her husband in
spirit and was very independent with her own willing. She frustrated Gabriel’s
wishful assumption. Women are not ignorant, obedient attachments who are
willing to be controlled by men. In Joyce’s period, men had the absolute right
in Ireland and women had to stay at home. Through many Joyce’s female
character, not only in The Dead, Joyce criticized the limited women’ s social
position in his writings showed great sympathy to women’s situation and
repudiated this kind of unfair social reality (Song Yu 19). I am really admire Joyce very much.
This is because in those days, he had a very forward thinking, and he had
different ideas than others.
I believe we are all equally opposed
to single hegemony. I know that nowadays society advocates equality between men
and women, but it is not binary opposition. I look forward to diversity,
including gender diversity.
Women can also be great, no wonder
men and women, both of them also need to be respected.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

   

     Besides, we know The Dead begins with a party and ends
with a corpse. I think it is like a symbol of human life, our life is a cycle.
Gabriel is a university teacher, rich of knowledge, considerable wealth,
respected position and beautiful and virtuous wife, but his love is not what he
considered as a great happiness. He thinks his wife, Gretta, belongs only to
him, and he is obsessed with his wife’s elegant appearance at the party. In
them from the party on my way back to the hotel, he in full recall the sweet
life with his wife, “filled with tenderness and joy and desire,”
while Gretta “has been in my heart to compare him with another man”.
When Gretta was a young man, she had a lover, Michael, and the young man often
sang the song “The Lass of Aughrim” — the song was sung by Mr. Darcy
at the end of the party. Michael in the case of severe illness in order to take
a look at the departure of Gretta and on a rainy night in spite of serious
illness in the window of Gretta, he to see his lover and didn’t want to live.
Eventually the young man died on the day Gretta left, and for many years, Gretta
thought he was dead for her. She said she could see Michael so clearly.
“he has such a pair of eyes: big black eyes! There was such an expression
in the eyes — a look! The shadow of the young people in the memory of Gretta
have not been married and have children of dull life, still clear in her mind,
even if “her face” is no longer a “Michael gives double suicide
for face”, even if she has become the mother of two children. Michael has
a passion for the love, even can die for love, his body has been destroyed, but
by Gretta love with an invisible power in the world of the born there, she will
“die” to “life”, make the dead life-in-death, as Gabriel
feeling after hearing Gretta past: “the ghost of an intangible, vindictive
against him, in which the hazy. The world is gathering strength against him.
This “hazy world” is refers to the world of the dead, it slowly
invade the living for the living to the miss world, and people tend to be more
cherish the past has gone, but have ignored nowadays, when now have gone,
people will awaken to, originally the most should treasure is now. But the dead
or the past is a way to “use” the mind to haunt the living, making it
live in the shadow of death (Xu Jin Fang 84-87).

 

     In The Dead Gabriel feels that his soul has
become vague with the soul of the dead. Dead people may still be alive because
they have had true love, and the living ones may die because they never loved
it. I think the question of life and
death is worth thinking about and figuring out. If we don’t live each day seriously, although we are alive,
but it is only like a walking dead. Besides, for those who had pass away, they
appreciate all the moment and live their life with every meaningful moment.
They are curious about everything, they always had a positive thinking about
everything. Even though they are no longer in the world now, but they are just
still alive and their spiritual are always with us.

   

     All in all, The Dead follows a logical pattern; we move from the general to the
particular, then to a final universal. We see Gabriel’s world generally; then
we focus down to the particular, and from the combination of the general and
particular we are given a universal symbol in the vision itself. The logic of
The Dead however is not the logic of mere intellect; it is the logic which
exists on a plane where intellectual perception and emotional intuition, form
and content, blend (Daniel R. Schwarz 69). Besides, I want to use few of the
sentence I like the most in this short story to make a conclusion. “Better pass
boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and
wither dismally with age.”
I think this sentence is makes sense
for my age at now. I am now at a stage of youth, full of enthusiasm and
vitality. I should try more different things in this wonderful stage to expand
my vision. As lecturer said in the class, if we are do the same
thing every day, it just a kind of non-stop repeat in our life. After 20 years,
we are just became older in our age but we have no improvement in our life.
This is meaningless and waste our time for a life time. We can live a different
life in a simple life. I learned a lot
from this class. It makes me understand the importance of reading, because only
through continuous reading so we will have a solid knowledge base. Of course,
we should also choose some meaningful books to read. And keep digging into the
meaning behind it. Turn the reading into a habit of life. A classic, is the
experience of our ancestor, it can lets us know what we didn’t know before, and
it can make our vision broader. Every time we re-read it, we will have
different thing to learn and be inspired. I think this is the charm of the
classic.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *